By John Lohn
MONTREAL, Canada, July 27. HEADING into the final of the women’s 50 backstroke, China’s Gao Chang has separated herself from the opposition. But, can she maintain her superiority for one more race, and when it counts most? Gao easily produced the top semifinal time, setting a championship record of 28.31.
Australia’s Giann Rooney secured the second position in 28.78 and Japan’s Mai Nakamura and Australia’s Sophie Edington shared the fourth-fastest qualifying time for the final. Nakamura and Edington stopped the clock in 28.87. Sitting fifth for the final is Germany’s Antje Buschschulte, who went 28.90. Buschschulte won silver in the 100 back on Tuesday night.
Germany’s Janine Pietsch, the world-record holder, earned the sixth spot for the championship heat, but her time of 28.93 was well off her global standard of 28.19, established earlier this year. Grabbing the final two bids for the final were Korea’s Nam-Eun Lee (28.95) and New Zealand’s Hannah McLean with a swim of 28.99.